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Italian Embassy keen on cultural exchange

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 29 - The Italian Embassy is keen on a cultural exchange with Assam which will contribute towards better understanding between the people of the two regions. This was stated by Gianluca Grandi, Deputy Head of Mission and Minister Counsellor, Italian Embassy, New Delhi, who was present in the Kaziranga Literary Festival that got under way here today.

Organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Assam, in association with the North East Writers� Forum, with an aim to promote tourism as well as the rich literary tradition of the State, the three-day literary extravaganza will facilitate a cultural exchange and interaction among the writers of Italy and those of the region. A group of writers from Italy, including Sergio Scapagnini who is a well-known Italian film producer, are here to attend the festival.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the literary festival, VK Pipersenia, Chief Secretary, Assam, said that culture, tourism and literature are complementary and a platform like the Kaziranga Literary Festival would go a long way in promoting good will and better understanding between the nations. He also stressed the need of bringing together writers from different locales as that will give them a better glimpse into the ethos and way of living of people across the globe. �Culture and literature of Assam have immense scope to attract tourists and we need to make the Kaziranga Literary Festival an annual affair,� Pipersenia added.

The first day of the festival was marked by an interactive session on children�s literature in which Sergio Scapagnini�s book, Lala�s Story, was read and discussed. The moderator of the session was Arup Kumar Dutta. The writers who participated include Dr Vera Slepoi, Sergio Scapagnini, Federico Raimondi, Rashmi Narzary and others.

Introducing his book, Sergio Scapagnini recalled the moment that inspired his first foray into writing. It may be mentioned that Lala�s Story highlights the life of a young Indian boy called Lala who leaves the warmth of home to help his poor parents tide over financial crisis. �This is a true story and I had met the protagonist of my book during one of my annual trips to India. I was moved by the tenacity of the boy who retained a sense of humour all through his ordeals in Mumbai,� said Scapagnini, admitting that whenever he remembers the encounter with the boy, he becomes emotional.

The panel of writers agreed that children�s literature has a great role to play in the development of young people who are the future of the world.

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